Safety tips for show days

Safety tips for show days

MAIN IMAGE: Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT

Open house or ‘show days’ has been proven to be a valuable way of introducing a home to prospective buyers. But unfortunately, this also means that home-owners could be unknowingly opening their doors to potential burglars who look to take advantage of the situation.

There is safety in numbers, as Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT, explains.

“A good place to start is to have someone on duty with you to manage events on show day. It gives you the ease of knowing that no visitors or prospective buyers are wandering through the home unmonitored, and that there is someone who can assist you if something goes wrong.”

Read: Has SA become too unsafe for show houses?

Hattingh says estate agents need to be security conscious and need to discuss the option of putting security systems in place before a show day. This, she adds, is not only to protect the sellers’ valuables and property, but to ensure the agents are safe as well.

“We advise sellers to lock all their valuables away and to ensure that their agent understands their concerns regarding the safety and the security of their property on the day. Posting a guard on the premises and giving the agent access to a panic button is also a good idea.”

While one cannot plan for every eventuality, Hattingh says the following pointers will help to discourage thieves from taking advantage of the situation.

Preparing a home for show day:

– If someone stands in for you on the show day, make sure they meet the owner and that the arrangements for the home is explained to them.

– If there is a panic button, ensure that you have access to it, along with the emergency number of the owner’s private security provider.

– Ask that the private security service provider be alerted that the home will be on show and ask that they will stop by during the afternoon to check that everything is in order.

– Check that spare keys for the home (for back, garage or patio doors) are not hanging on hooks that can be reached.

– Check that all valuables are locked away that can easily fit into a handbag or pocket. Advise the owner that drawers and bathroom cabinets can be opened and rifled through quickly, so they should not contain valuable items.

– Owners should also rather put away larger items of equipment that are not instrumental in showing off the home to stop criminals from thinking they might have to return later when no one is home.

– Advise that curtains and blinds are kept open or lights be switched on in each room to discourage would-be thieves from untoward activity.

Safety precautions on show day:

– If possible, position yourself where you can see prospective buyers’ vehicles as they arrive and make a note of their registration numbers, the make and model of the car.

– Don’t be shy to ask your visitors to stay with you while you walk through the home together. This will avoid a situation where one person wanders off unsupervised during the viewing.

– While you are conducting a viewing, do not leave the front entrance of the home open. It is important to check that intercoms, buzzers and doorbells are in good working order.

– Consider a show day where you encourage “by appointment” viewings. This will avoid overlap between groups of visitors.

– If visitors do arrive while you are talking to someone, encourage them to fill in the visitor’s book or take a look at the garden and outdoor facilities to buy some time.

– Ask if the owner’s security company offer any special mobile panic button service, which you can keep with you when on duty at a show house.

  • Issued on behalf of Fidelity ADT by Cathy Findley Public Relations

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